WORLD’S BILLIONAIRES – THE MOST PROFITABLE BUSINESSES III: Mukesh Ambani

Now it is time to introduce part 3 of my blog series “World’s billionaires – The most profitable businesses”. To make sure that you guys know, what I am writing about in this post, I will shortly explain the content of part 1 and 2 of  my blog series.
While analyzing the list of the richest people in the world according to the Forbes, I looked for businesses in which those people are earning their money. There, I noticed that most of these wealthy people are working in the following areas: Fashion industry; discount chains; media; mining, gas and oil. Examining each business area, I thought, would let me understand the reasons and the concept of becoming successful.
My first blogpost was about LVMH, which represents the profitable business of fashion. Whereas my second blogpost described the successful business of discount chains on the basis of Wal-Mart.

This blogpost was supposed to discuss the business of “mining, gas and oil” by reference to Mukesh Ambani, an Indian business tycoon. But it turned out a little bit different than I expected..

Mukesh Dhirubhai Ambani

.. is an Indian business magnate and the second wealthiest man in Asia (after Li Ka-shing) with an estimated net worth of  $22.3 billion, according to the forbes he is ranked as the 19th richest person in the world. He is the chairman and managing director of the Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), which is the foremost company  of the Indian energy and materials conglomerate Reliance Group. Ambani is the largest individual shareholder with 44.7 % stake in RIL. Not enough that he is one of the richest person earth according to Forbes, but also named among the most powerful people in the world in 2010. Beyond his position in RIL, he is also a member of the board of directors of Bank of America Corporation and a present member of the international advisory board of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), a nonprofit organization specializing in U.S. foreign policy and international affairs. Guess what!-That was not the end of his career. Mukesh Ambani is as well the 2nd richest sports owner in the world because his company Reliance Industries owns the Indian Premier League domestic cricket club Mumbai Indians.
What does that mean to be the 2nd richest sports owner ? – Well, it means that you are richer than the owners of Chelsea and AcMilan.

His business

..is Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) which is an Indian conglomerate company headquartered in Mumbai, India. The company operates through three business segments: petrochemicals, refining, oil, gas also textile, retail business, special economic zone (SEZ) development and telecom/broadband business.  In addition, RIL has the world’s biggest oil refining complex and natural gas field. Anil Ambani, Mukesh’s younger brother, heads the Reliance Group. His father, Dhirubhai Ambani, has founded RIL in 1966. Nowadays, RIL is the most valuable company by market value and largest private sector company by revnue and profit in India. Here are some numbers (retrieved 2012) about RIL:

  • Employees: 23 166
  • Revenue: US$ 66.790 billion
  • Net income: US$ 4 billion

His Awards

I was never aware of that you can receive awards and honours as a business man. If I think of awards, things like actors, singers, Grammys or Oscars are coming in my mind. But not the following awards of  Mukesh Ambani, just to name a few:

  • 2004 Entrepreneur OF the Decade (Bombay Management Association)
  • 2007 Defence India Excellence Award (Government of India)
  • 2010 School of Engineering and Applied Science Dean’s Medal (University of Pennsylvania

His house

Mukesh Ambani home, called Antilia, is a 27-floor residential skyscraper in South Mumbai, which is consider to be the most expensive adress in the world. It has an estimated cost of US$1 billion and employs 600 full-time staff to maintain the residence. Associates of Mukesh Ambani described his home as

The Taj Mahal of 21st century of India.

Besides the fact that there are only 6 people (Ambani, wife Nita, their 3 children and Ambani’s mother) and a pet (frog named Masala) living in that skyscraper,  the controversial building is located on an ocean-facing 4,532 square metres plot in the slums of Mumbai. Upsetting reactions were predictable:

It’s a stupendous show of wealth, it’s kind of positioning business tycoons as the new maharajah of India.”, claimed Hamish McDonald, author of Ambani & Sons.

Some Indians are proud of the “ostentatious houses”, while others see it as “shameful in a nation where many children go hungry”. Ratan Tata, chairman of Tata Group (competitor of RIL), also said:

The person who lives in there should be concerned about what he sees around him and [asking] can he make a difference. If he is not, then it’s sad because this country needs people to allocate some of their enormous wealth to finding ways of mitigating the hardship that people have.

Starting with the goal to present the profitable business of mining, gas and oil by reference to Mukesh Ambani; I actually presented Mukesh Ambani by reference to his business. His success and fortune is not thanks to the Reliance Group but much more thanks to himself. You can definitely say that Mukesh Ambani is a business itself. But as expected, too much money spoils the view of reality..

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